Can Fuji’s latest compact, the FinePix F60fd measure up to its earlier models?
The new Fujifilm FinePix F60fd is an update of last year?s 12-megapixel ultra-compact F50fd. It uses the same sensor, and has the same 3x zoom, although the range is slightly different at 35-105mm, which looks a bit restrictive compared to the wideangle capabilities of some of its rivals. The stylish all-aluminium body is virtually identical to the F50fd, and is available in the UK in either silver or a stylish matt black.
It is quite a small camera at 92.5 x 59.2 x 22.9mm, but it weighs approximately 183g ready to shoot, which is heavier than you might expect. The body shape has a small finger-grip on the front panel and a slight curve to the top plate that makes the camera comfortable to hold and operate, and the control layout is simple and uncluttered. The F60fd will accept either SD/SDHC or xD-Picture memory cards in a dual-format slot.
The F60fd is quite well equipped with features, including aperture and shutter priority exposure settings. Aperture values from f/2.8 to f/8.0 are available in 1/3 EV stops, as are shutter speeds from one second to 1/1000th of a second. It also has a new automatic mode, Scene Recognition, which sets the appropriate scene mode for the situation. It does work quickly and effectively, although the list of scene choices is quite limited, and like most such systems it doesn’t appear to be that much of an advantage over simple program auto exposure.
The face detection system is also improved, and can now detect up to 10 faces in the frame, including profile views and even faces that are upside down. Another addition is the ?portrait enhancer? feature which smoothes out skin wrinkles and blemishes, but the results look a little artificial. The F60fd has sensor-shift image stabilisation, but it is not as effective as some rival systems, with some camera shake visible in shots taken at 1/50th of a second.
Overall performance is actually slightly slower than the F50fd, with a shot-to-shot time of approximately 2.8 seconds, but the autofocus system is much improved, and its low light focusing is exceptionally good.
Image quality is generally good, although it does suffer from some barrel distortion and corner blurring at wide angle, and Fuji?s perennial problem of chromatic aberration. As with many current high-megapixel cameras dynamic range is also a problem, with very dark shadows and burned out highlights in high-contrast shots. br>
Previous F-series models, such as the F31fd and F40fd, have had an excellent reputation for low-light performance and high-ISO image quality, but sadly with the launch of the F50fd in 2007 Fuji sacrificed this ability to add more megapixels. Since the F60fd has the same overcrowded 1/1.6-inch SuperCCD HR VII sensor as its predecessor, it too lacks the abilities of those older models.
The F60fd is a well-made, attractively styled camera with good handling and some useful features, but the limited zoom range is a handicap. Low light focusing is outstanding, but it lacks the high-ISO quality of its predecessors.